Campus: CSU Chico -- May 14, 2003

New Irrigation Training Facility to Address Critical Agricultural Issues of Pumping Efficiency and Water Conservation

To help educate students and the agricultural community about new efficient uses of water, an irrigation training facility is opening at the California State University, Chico Agricultural Teaching and Research Center (University Farm).

The training facility’s dedication will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 16, at the University Farm, 311 Nicholas Schouten Lane in Chico.

Over the past three years, CSU, Chico’s College of Agriculture has worked with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Public Utilities Commission, local irrigation companies and private donors to gather the resources needed to build the state-of-the-art irrigation training facility. The college has collaborated with the Irrigation Training and Research Center at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and the Center for Irrigation Technology at CSU, Fresno on the design of the facility.

Included in the dedication ceremony will be remarks by Michael Ryan, Bureau of Reclamation area manager, Northern California Office; Dean David Wehner, College of Agriculture, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo; Dave Zoldoske, director, Center for Irrigation Technology, CSU, Fresno; and Dean Charles Crabb, College of Agriculture, CSU, Chico.

The approximately $450,000 training facility includes a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, a pump and meter test facility and a model canal system. The existing farm irrigation system, pump and meter testing facility and model canal system are all tied into the SCADA system that can be managed in the SCADA control room as well as in a nearby classroom.

Both CSU, Chico students and members of the regional agricultural community will have opportunities to learn using the new equipment at the University Farm.

"This facility represents a unique partnership among agencies, private companies and three of the California State University agriculture programs to bring an outstanding irrigation training facility to the North State,” said Crabb. “Agriculture water users as well as our students will benefit from the training opportunities that will be made possible by having this facility."

The training facility includes a 12,000-gallon pumping chamber and three or four pumps that can be utilized in different configurations. Attached to the pumping chamber are two 100-foot canals that are 3 feet wide and 3 feet deep that will be fitted with a variety of measurement and SCADA control devices.

Efficient electric pumps and automated irrigation scheduling are crucial issues for California agriculture. Last November, the state Public Utilities Commission collaborated with the Center for Irrigation Technology at CSU, Fresno on a $6.4 million incentive and education program to promote irrigation pump efficiency.

For more information about the training facility dedication, contact the CSU, Chico College of Agriculture at (530) 898-5844.

CONTACT: Joe Wills 530-898-4143

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